The Place of Blessing
Gen. 32:6-8; 22-28
Intro: The story of Jacob is a familiar one; he took advantage of his brother and took from him the Birthright of the firstborn; then his mother helped him deceive his own dad and he stole the Blessing of the firstborn.
Of course, Esau was furious and threatened to kill him; so he fled away and went to his uncle Laban’s. There he worked with livestock and there he married both Leah and Rachel; there he had 12 children and was expecting another. Things had not gone well with Laban for he was constantly changing Jacob’s wages and pushed the hardest of the work off on him. Jacob was discouraged and decided that he needed to return home. He stole away in the middle of the night rather than face Laban man to man and made his “escape” to return back to Canaan.
Jacob had an experience with God at Bethel when he first left home but about 20 years had passed and Jacob needed a Renewal in his relationship with God; he needed God’s Blessing on his life and in his family. The text passage tells about the Place of Blessing that Jacob found as he journeyed home. Notice: This place of Blessing did not consist of just a Great Positive experience; it was not all glory and joy and wonder.
I. A Place of Crisis.
It was a crisis that brought Jacob to his place of blessing.
I like it better when I receive blessings at random; how about you? When I think about receiving a blessing I am not wanting to go through a Crisis.
I read where Jacob was thinking about Esau as he made his way home. He knew how things had been when he left and he had No Assurance that anything had changed for the better. He was already making plans for dealing with Esau; hoping to soothe his anger and find any mercy that might be in Esau’s heart. When the messengers he sent to Esau returned, the word was not good; Esau is coming to meet you and he has 400 men with him.
Talk about a Crisis! Coming with 400 men; that does NOT sound like a peace conference; but a War Party.
Jacob was “greatly afraid and distressed.”
He immediately began making plans to minimize the damage Esau would do; he divided his all of his company into two and actually three bands or groups.
He kept himself and his immediate family as the third group; he divided the rest into 2 groups and sent them ahead with some distance between them.
He hoped that if Esau did attack the first group that the second group and his family group would be able to escape destruction.
He was in a Crisis.
I want you to know tonight that Your Place of Blessing May be in a Place of Crisis.
In other words- you feel like you are in a crisis tonight and you may be “greatly afraid and distressed.” You may feel like this is a place of nothing but trouble and defeat and you have reconciled yourself to just trying to Minimize the Damage and try to survive with whatever can be salvaged.
God wants you to know tonight that the Place of Crisis can become a Place of Blessing.
II. A Place of Conflict.
Jacob was not only in a place of Crisis- he was in a place of conflict.
He could not dictate how Esau should feel; what actions he should or should not take; he was at the mercy of Esau and it fully expected serious conflict.
There was no indication that Esau was going to be calm and peaceful at their meeting; there was no indication that Esau was interested in reconciliation; conflict seemed inevitable.
The threat of conflict drove Jacob to Desperation.
He sent even his immediate family across the brook Jabbok and there he wrestled with a man that he later realized was an angel from God.
He wrestled and struggled and fought and battled; he persisted such that the angel said to him, Let Me Go for the day breaketh; (Jacob had ahold of the angel so intently that the angel intreated him to be let go)
Jacob replied, I will not let you go except you bless me.
This place of conflict was not only a place of desperation but it became a place of brokenness also.
The angel touched the thigh of Jacob and put it out of place; no doubt Jacob felt pain; it was a physical injury that he suffered consequences from for the rest of his life.
Remember tonight- your place of blessing may bring you to desperation- you must hold on to the Lord; Don’t be deceived by the devil and let go of the Lord. Be faithful to fight the good fight of faith;
Remember tonight- your place of blessing may bring you to brokeness- you must allow the Lord to Break you so he can then Mold and Make you what he wants you to be; his plan is better than yours; his aims are higher than yours; his goals are greater than yours.
Don’t hold anything back from the Lord; surrender completely and let him have full control.
Jacob obtained his first blessing by deceit and lying; but it did not fulfill the desires of his heart and he reaped what he sowed for he too was treated deceitfully. He obtained his second blessing by earnest prayer; by wrestling with determination but in humility. This blessing changed his life forever.
The Great English preacher F B Meyer said this: the reason that some fail to attain the Blessed Life is that there is some point at which they hold back from God and desire their own way rather than his. This one little thing will mar the whole and rob the soul of its peace and of the fulness of blessing.
If you’re in a place of Crisis and Conflict tonight- don’t be dismayed- surrender everything in your heart and life to the Lord and allow the Spirit of God to break you and make you and bring his blessing to your life.
Let me close by reminding you that Jacob’s place of Blessing was also:
III. A Place of Confession.
As he and the angel wrestled intently, the angel said, “what is your name?”
Now I think you would all agree with me that the angel knew full well what his name was; he was not asking because he didn’t know Jacob’s name, he was asking because he wanted Jacob to Say IT and by doing so Confess that he really was a Deceiver; a Supplanter; one who was also trying to take advantage of others.
It amounted to a Confession by Jacob of Who He Was and What he Done.
I know how difficult it is for us to Confess OUR OWN SINS and Shortcomings.
Still, the place of blessing is a place of confession.
God already knows anyway; you might as well admit it.
We can try to make other people think that we are totally innocent and that any trouble we are having is all because of someone else and what they have done. But God knows that ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
Don’t try to confess someone else’s sins or failures; confess your own.
That’s the way to blessing.
When Jacob confessed who he was; the angel replied- You will be Jacob No More (no more the deceiver; no more the supplanter; no more the one always trying to take advantage of everyone else)
From now on you are ISRAEL- A Prince that has Power with God.
Wow= what a blessing Jacob received from God.
He was forgiven of his past sins and failures; his name that tied him to his past was taken away and he was given a new Name and an New Life- from now on he would be a Prince in the sense that he would be the Father of the nation of Israel and he would have Power with God and be blessed with the blessing of Abraham.
There is a place of blessing for you; it may be a place of crisis; it may be a place of conflict; it will almost certainly be a place of confession- but the Blessing is worth the Effort.